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  The Unseen at A Red Orchid Theatre

The Unseen

A Red Orchid Theatre
1531 N. Wells Street Chicago

Imprisoned by an unknown totalitarian regime and mercilessly tortured for unknown crimes, Wallace and Valdez live without hope of escape or release. When an enigmatic new prisoner arrives and begins communicating in code, both men develop new relationships to each other, their captors, and their world.

Thru - Mar 15, 2009

Price: $20-$25

Show Type: Dark Comedy

Box Office: 312-943-8722

Running Time: 1hr 15mins; no intermission

Nearby Restaurants

  The Unseen Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...The show works mostly because of the total contrast between McCarthy (who, aptly enough, had a big role on “Prison Break”) and Key. McCarthy blubbers with articulation and still shows us the whites of his eyes. Key suggests a guy stuck in a perpetual, gibbering panic, grasping at the straws that might save him."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...The crushing impact of Dado’s visceral direction is enhanced by Matt Reese’s angled, airless set (shoehorned into Red Orchid’s shrewdly reconfigured space), and by the chilling effects created by Matthew Gawryk’s lighting and Joe Court’s sound design."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Toyed with by forces beyond their control, the men reach the limits of hope, understanding, and even language. A Red Orchid Theatre's searing production, directed by Dado, boasts heartrending performances from Steve Key and Danny McCarthy as the prisoners, and a riveting turn from Keith Kupferer as a guard with empathy in spite of himself."
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Zac Thompson

Examiner - Highly Recommended

"...The Unseen is a short, sharp shock of a show, testosterone-fueled by a powerhouse trio working at peak capacity. Directed by Dado to pile-driving intensity, it’s the kind of punch to the brain - and the funny bone - that underlines the gladiatorial energy and fearless, emotional violence that defines the best of Chicago’s mighty store front theater scene. This is the sort of show – not those high-gloss, multi-million dollar endeavors that draw tourists to the Loop – that comprises the bloody, pulsating heart of the Chicago theatrosphere."
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Catey Sullivan

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Wright's nebulous exercise seldom exceeds the limits of its well-worn genre. But in a dramatic universe where survival, both physical and spiritual, is dependent upon the unceasing perpetuation of empathy in times of stress, audiences will find comfort in the supply of that precious commodity generated by the intimacy of the Red Orchid space."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Recommended

"...The Unseen, at least when I saw it, had the audience erupting in peal after peal of hysterical laughter. Valdez’s stubborn hopefulness (imagine Jimmy Stewart covered in bruises and bleeding from the face, but still going to Washington, goshdarnit), and Wallace’s incessant, hyper-intelligent ironic meta-commentary create a kind of hot-air balloon of humor, madly afloat in spite of everything. Craig Wright’s verbally nimble, philosophically probing script and brilliant acting from the three-man cast keep the play riveting as it careens between hilarity and horror."

Laura Kolb

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...In lesser hands, the snarky bullying that pervades The Unseen could wear thin. But under Dado’s rigorous hand, McCarthy shades Wallace’s witticisms with a desperation that indicates the itching urge for freedom that incites his endless browbeating. Yet more remarkable is Key’s dim-witted Valdez. Designed primarily as an obtuse foil to Wallace’s cutting wit, Valdez could easily be played in the one-note key of dumb."
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Christopher Shea

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...The acting here is powerful and intense. This chilling show will hit you in your gut. There are darkly humorous moments here that test the limits of faith and reason in a crazy world. A Red Orchid Theatre continues offering excellent theatre."
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Tom Williams

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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